As I reflect on the journey of Mary and Joseph, it was a small step to feel some familiarity with their journey.  As a caregiver of a spouse with dementia, we are in the early days and yet, the journey is uncomfortable. 

Each individual with dementia is just that—an individual with dementia.  No two caregivers will have exactly the same journey.  What we do share is the very real feeling of “why me”. Why us?  We look for our own Elizabeth to confirm that we are able to do this. Like Mary, we have many thoughts that are not shared with others (Luke 1:57-66). We turn to God more frequently with questions.  We listen closely for some solution, some revelation.  (Luke 2:19, 51)

As our loved one’s dementia progresses, we have days where we feel we are only one step away from being overtaken.  Herod is on our heels.  (Matt. 2:16).  Like Mary we find ourselves in a situation that is far beyond what we had envisioned for our future.  Riding on a donkey, pregnant.  Our spirit willing, our mind sometimes a blather, and our bodies rebelling to the rough terrain. 

As I look at the creche I see an unlikely place for a king to be born.  I see two unlikely parents.  And there is my hope.  Because in the words of my good friend Dody, the main part of that creche is Jesus in the manger.  As unlikely as we are for this particular journey, it is in the dark, unlikely places where our redemption from dementia lies. 

It is in the hope of Christ’s birth that my journey becomes a pilgrimage.